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Buy or Sell: The Cowboys Finally Get the Running Game on Track

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Carson and Childs are back, but will that lead to an improvement in the rushing attack?

Chris Carson will need to have a good game against WVU
Chris Carson will need to have a good game against WVU
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

During Coach Mike Gundy's press conference with the media on Monday, the rushing offense (or lack there of) was once again a point of emphasis. With Chris Carson and Rennie Childs out of the lineup against Kansas State, the Pokes quickly abandoned the run and put the game squarely on Mason Rudolph's shoulders. The offense delivered, and OSU was able to pull out a closer than expected victory over the Wildcats. However, Gundy stressed he is not necessarily comfortable with throwing the ball 55 times a game despite Rudolph's success and a strong group of receivers. Gundy was quoted on the topic by the Tulsa World.

"If we have seven experienced offensive linemen up front and a two-year veteran at quarterback that had 20 games under his belt, with this group of receivers, I'd say ‘Just fire away.' But we're not really there."

Gundy was asked about the development of the rushing offense, and he was candid in his response.

"We've made some strides," Gundy said. "We're a little better than we were up front last year, but we still need to run the football better. I think 150 rushing yards a game is a goal that we have, and we're not getting there, but we're going to keep working on it."

Childs and Carson are expected to return this weekend, and most likely Mike Yurcich will want to call a balanced offensive attack. Which begs the question, can Oklahoma State rush for 150 yards this week against West Virginia?

BUY

During the Iowa State game in October of last season, Zach Crabtree suffered an injury which caused a shake-up in the offensive line rotation. Through the next 5 games, coincidentally when Oklahoma State began its losing streak, the Cowboys averaged a less-than-mediocre 3.3 yards per carry. Crabtree returned for the game against Baylor in November, allowing the rest of the starting lineup to return to their natural positions. Although the Pokes lost that game, they showed signs of progress (116 yards and 2 touchdowns) which they carried into the Bedlam game. In that contest, OSU rushed for 112 yards on 26 carries (4.3 ypc) and 2 rushing touchdowns.

Jesse Robinson replaced Paul Lewis at guard last weekend during the KSU game. Although the change was due to injury, Lewis has struggled this season playing a new position. A minor change could be all that is needed for the Cowboys to get back on track.

SELL

In 2014, the Cowboys put up comparable numbers to this season. Against the better teams on the schedule, OSU was able to eclipse the 150 yard mark in only four games.

  • *161 yards on 42 carries (3.8 YPC) against Florida State
  • 158 yards on 42 carries (3.8 YPC) against Texas Tech
  • 194 yards on 39 carries (5.0 YPC) against West Virginia
  • 152 yards on 49 carries (3.1 YPC) against Washington
*JW Walsh accounted for 51 yards on 11 carries against FSU

In every instance, the Cowboys needed around 40 carries to get to 150 yards. Additionally, OSU was only able to average more than four yards per carry just three times out of 13 games, and that trend has carried over into 2015. Gundy has given no indication of additional personnel changes on the offensive line, and therefore we will see the same struggle to rush the ball effectively against West Virginia.